Unit 3 Lecture


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Unit 3 Lecture

  1. 1. Anomalous Behavior Unit 3 Climate of Change InTeGrate Module Cynthia M. Fadem Earlham College Russian River Valley, CA, USA
  2. 2. Goals • Understand the mechanics of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. • Diagram an El Niño event. • Recall examples of how ocean surface oscillations impact ecosystems and people.
  3. 3. ENSO Normal Condition Trade winds and strong equatorial currents flow toward the west. This process, along with an intense Peruvian current, causes the upwelling of cold bottom-water along the west coast of South America. Cool water, strong Peruvian current Equatorial current
  4. 4. The Southern Oscillation (ENSO) • Shifts in tropical Pacific SST and precipitation affect wind patterns over much of the globe. • ENSO can have both positive and negative impacts in different parts of the world — often resulting in worldwide socioeconomic consequences (ranging from an increased flood risk in some regions of the US to warm, dry conditions in others). -National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, 2006
  5. 5. • At the onset, tradewinds maintain warm equatorial currents toward the east. • As El Niño begins, the tradewinds weaken, and the equatorial countercurrent strengthens. • This creates Kelvin waves, surges of warm water moving eastward. • When a Kelvin wave reaches the Americas, it divides and travels north and south along the west coast. ENSO Positive Condition (El Niño)
  6. 6. Capturing ENSO
  7. 7. Capturing ENSO
  8. 8. Geology of ENSO Fires in Canberra, Brindabella Range, Australia, 2003 Dried fields, Australia
  9. 9. Immediate Effects
  10. 10. Global Effects
  11. 11. Global Effects
  12. 12. Still Discovering El Niño… “For years, scientists have tracked the intensity of the El Niño Southern Oscillation by measuring the strength of the sea surface temperature anomaly. El Niños occur when warmer ocean water wells up toward the eastern equatorial Pacific. But the strength of the temperature anomaly may not be the only important factor in predicting El Niño- related weather events. Our researchers found that the location of sea-surface warming appears to be just as critical. For instance, El Niños that develop near the central equatorial Pacific appear to cause drought during the Indian Monsoon, whereas warm waters near the eastern equatorial Pacific may have no impact on monsoon rains.” - Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), 2012
  13. 13. ENSO POSITIVE PHASE NEGATIVE PHASE When the trade winds shift and push warm water from the western pacific to the eastern Pacific, the jet streams change, changing the weather patterns and climate. La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific. The colder than normal water is depicted in this image in blue. During a La Niña stronger than normal trade winds bring cold water up to the surface of the ocean.